UPDATE 4:55 p.m. EDT-- School officials in Milford, Connecticut, reversed their decision Monday to ban in-school Halloween parades.
BREAKING: Milford CT schools reverses ban on in-school Halloween parade. pic.twitter.com/PC9Sivbndi
— Tony Aiello (@AielloTV) October 12, 2015
A Connecticut school district plans to ban Halloween this year, in an effort to be more inclusive. School officials in Milford have decided to prohibit Halloween parades at elementary schools across the district, the Connecticut Post reported Monday.
The district also plans to forbid students and staff from wearing Halloween costumes during the day and declared any classroom activities have to have “fall themes, not Halloween, and food is not an option,” a letter sent last week by a school principal said. The decision to prohibit all things spooky “arose out of numerous incidents of children being excluded from activities due to religion, cultural beliefs, etc.,” the letter said.
“I now have nieces and nephews who won’t be able to experience that,” said Heather Sharpe, a Milford resident who has two children who participated in the Halloween parade when they were in grade school, the Connecticut Post reported. “Everything has gotten to the point where everything has gotten so P.C. that kids are not allowed to have any fun anymore. ... If anything, they should be asking the people who feel excluded what they like to do, and having a party for them."
The school district’s decision was met with a public backlash, and Milford resident Rebecca Lilley started a petition on Change.org calling for the schools to reinstate the Halloween parade. So far, 1,782 people have signed the petition.
— Heidi Voight (@HeidiVoight) October 12, 2015
“These are our American customs and traditions and we should not have to give them up because others find them offensive!” Lilley wrote on the petition page. “I’m so tired [of] my kids missing out on some of the things we all got to do as children and are some of the greatest childhood memories I have due to others saying they find it offensive.”
Jim Richetelli, chief operations officer for Milford Public Schools, said he had no direct knowledge of the decisions regarding Halloween, but respecting diversity of the student body is always a key concern.
“Milford Public Schools do have many children from diverse beliefs, cultures and religions,” said Richetelli, the Connecticut Post reported. “The goal is for all children to feel comfortable and definitely not alienated when they come to school.”
Richetelli also pointed out there are other seasonal activities the students can attend, including a PTA “Trunk or Treat” event during which the kids can wear their costumes.
Other school districts have implemented bans on the ghostly holiday. Local school districts across Pennsylvania barred Halloween celebrations in 2013 amid concerns for safety, loss of instructional time and church and state issues, PennLive reported.